By Matt Youngfrau
CALLICOON September 21, 2001 The Republican Party is referred to as "The Grand Old Party," but Friday, September 14s Sullivan County Republican Committee's Annual Cocktail Reception at the Club at Villa Roma in Callicoon was anything but.
The mood was somber, as people were still recovering from the horrible attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon earlier in the week. At 7 p.m., all of those in attendance went outside to join the rest of the country on the National Day of Remembrance by lighting a candle.
While outside, SC Republican Party Chair Greg Goldstein asked Sullivan County District Attorney Stephen Lungen to say a few words.
"I am here with a lot of frustration and anger, remarked Lungen. I want to be there to help. We stand in great unity and support."
After he spoke, a moment of silence was held for those lost, missing or otherwise unaccounted for. When that was over, the audience spontaneously burst into a rendition of "God Bless America."
Once inside, Goldstein introduced town, county, and village officials, followed by the guest speaker, New York State Assembly Minority Leader John Faso.
Faso stated that, due to Tuesday's events, he was not giving the speech he had prepared, saying it was inappropriate at this time.
Instead, Faso reviewed what the state, the governor, and the president had been doing during the tragedy. Faso also mentioned former Assemblyman Dick Coombe, who was in attendance.
He went on to mention some of the changes in the state under Pataki, such as decreased welfare numbers, lower taxes, and the STAR Program.
However, Faso kept returning to Tuesday's tragic events.
"Some people hate America. They hate that we stand united. There is a need for retribution and to make sure that this never happens again, he remarked. I'm glad we held this event tonight. It is important that we continue with our political and civil obligations. We will send a signal that we will not allow terrorism to shake our country."
Faso added that he is proud of Pataki, President George W. Bush, and New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, ending his speech by stating he will be running for New York State Comptroller next year and plans to return to Sullivan County.
Goldstein then introduced the Republicans three countywide candidates: Treasurer Olga Parlow, Fallsburg Police Chief Brent Lawrence (running for Sheriff), and Lungen (who is unopposed in his re-election bid).
Incumbent Treasurer Parlow felt the need to address a situation that had come up about a month ago.
"I will admit that I made an error," Parlow stated, referring to not having the papers filed in time for the tax deadline, thus delaying the Real Property Tax Auction from October to next June. "We have collected on 30 parcels we wouldn't have if we had an auction.
Two other counties had to delay their auctions as well, she continued. We need to change the law. Last year, I told you that I would bring honesty to government, but I never said I was perfect."
"There is a new dawn coming," Lawrence remarked. "The demands on the sheriff's office will be new and unfamiliar. I will be ready for it. I will create an office we can all be proud of."
Goldstein ended the day by encouraging all to get out and vote. He also encouraged those present to get as many people registered as Republicans as possible.